Do you remember what you were doing on the night of Saturday, June 16, 1979? I sure do. Here in Chicagoland there was a bit of fanfare regarding a new horror host hitting the airwaves via our favorite UHF station, WFLD Channel 32. For a young monster movie fan like myself, the idea of watching them on prime time was a gift in and of itself. Having them presented along with hilarious parody songs, skits, and sound effects took it to an even higher level. Even before the big night, I recall my parents discussing the new talent at the dinner table. “Oh, you’ll probably love this Son of Svengoolie,” my mom said, looking up from the Chicago Tribune’s entertainment section. “Your father used to watch his dad back when he was on TV.”
There’s a whole room reserved for national commercial TV horror host, Svengoolie, to his fans at Flashback Weekend. I was informed by my friend, Don Johnston that he and his crew arrived and headed straight there from the main ballroom. Don manages the event’s hotel, the Crown Plaza in Rosemont, and is a great guy who often grants me event and parking passes in exchange for helping out where needed. In this instance it was to direct fans into the room he was in while seeing to it the line stayed moving. Lucky for these folks, waiting in line involved sitting in chairs that wrapped around the room’s perimeter. After fans got up to meet him, the rest would simply move down the corresponding number of chairs until it was their turn. It may sound goofy but, trust me, as someone who has stood in line for hours to meet a convention guest before, being able to sit in a comfortable seat for the duration was worth its weight in gold!
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to announce the return of The Horror Host Report! Yes, back when this blog was relatively new we set out to do what no one else had…create an all-inclusive weekly update of what the world’s horror hosts (commercial TV, public access, internet) were up to. It proved to be one of our most popular features and both Terror Daves enjoyed working with all the hosts immensely. Through the report, many of the participants also became personal friends and we had nothing but positive experiences with them during its nearly three-year run.
Last weekend I went to see national horror host, Svengoolie, at a Chicago store called Cook Brothers (“We stack em Deep and Sell em Cheap!”). Though not as remarkable as his previous appearance at The Squared Circle, it did represent a bit of a milestone for me. Since discovering that he’d return to the airwaves in 2003, this would mark my 35th time seeing him (either as Svengoolie or Rich Koz) at a public event.
When I was growing up, our town (like many at the time) had it’s own local theater. It wasn’t one of those big multiplexes you see today but rather a one screen wonder offering standard-sized viewing and a small popcorn machine/soda fountain serving as concessions. I remember the lobby having a musty odor and being adorn in red velvet; the theater seats so old you’d invariably be sitting at an angle. I also recall my grade school friends and I snickering at nude, Greek statues (missing their heads) that stood at opposite sides of the entrance.
The Homewood Theater was already in it’s decline when I was a kid back in the ’70s but, one Saturday during summer months, would provide throwback experiences once commonplace during my parent’s youth. On these occasions, they’d offer affordable “all day” movie experiences featuring family friendly films along with cartoons, Three Stooges shorts, and old serials in between.
Terror from Beyond the Daves would like to extend a very special “Get Well” card to our dear friend, Rich Koz/Svengoolie. Svengoolie is well loved and respected; not just by us Daves and horror fans, but by a WIDE range of broadcasting professionals, TV historians, and a few notable celebrities as well. This has been especially true now that he’s gone national and caught the attention of such genre legends as Mark Hamill and Robert Englund!